Biennial Discussion on the Question of the Death Penalty: Research Discredits Claims That the Death Penalty Deters Crime

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In advance of the Biennial High-level Discussion on the Question of the Death Penalty during the upcoming 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, The Advocates and partners submitted a joint written statement refuting the idea that the death penalty deters crime. The panel discussion at the United Nations, which takes place tomorrow (February 23, 2021) aims to expose human rights … Continue reading Biennial Discussion on the Question of the Death Penalty: Research Discredits Claims That the Death Penalty Deters Crime

The Concerns Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) Pose to Free Speech

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NGOs and human rights defenders are increasingly found as the targets of a new strategy designed to limit the speech of those with less power or resources. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) refers to a process by which litigants target the defendants with what are usually frivolous defamation lawsuits. Although anti-SLAPP statutes, such as measures that provide for early dismissal of frivolous suits, can provide some safeguards against SLAPPs, many jurisdictions have yet to implement such statutes. SLAPPs also pose … Continue reading The Concerns Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) Pose to Free Speech

Human Rights at the State Capitol: Budgets

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Budgets. Human rights might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this word, but respecting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights requires financial resources. Budgets are more than financial statements – they're statements of values and priorities. Budgets that fund activities with a positive impact on the exercise of rights can turn our values into reality.   Last week, the Minnesota Legislature began to hear details of the Governor’s budget recommendations. For example, the … Continue reading Human Rights at the State Capitol: Budgets

Human Rights at the State Capitol: Week 1 January 25-29

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It is a truth universally accepted that everyone has human rights. These rights are indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent. One right does not stand siloed from other rights, and fulfilling one right requires that other rights are fulfilled, too.    We see this principle reflected in the Minnesota Legislature’s work this week. Several committees in the Minnesota House of Representatives are reviewing the Select Committee on Racial Justice Report to the … Continue reading Human Rights at the State Capitol: Week 1 January 25-29

The Advocates Welcomes First Steps, Calls for Sustained Commitment to Human Rights

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As the United States transitions to a new administration, The Advocates for Human Rights looks forward to a renewed commitment to human rights in our domestic and foreign policy. Human rights standards provide a foundation to ensure that policy making is just, fair, and respects human dignity.  Topping the list, we welcome the end of … Continue reading The Advocates Welcomes First Steps, Calls for Sustained Commitment to Human Rights

A Day in the Life of an International Justice Program Intern: Learning About LGBTI Rights, Systemic Racism, and More

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Sarah Borden took a break from her studies at Yale to intern with The Advocates' International Justice Program. Read about her experience here.

The Advocates condemns the outgoing administration’s killing spree

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In the early morning hours of January 13, 2021, the United States government violated its international obligations in taking the life of Lisa Montgomery. Lisa Montgomery was convicted of a terrible crime. But her conviction came after a trial in which the judge and jury were not given the full story of the horrific childhood abuse, … Continue reading The Advocates condemns the outgoing administration’s killing spree

Citing human rights concerns, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights calls on the United States to stay the executions of two women

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In December 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued resolutions urging the United States Government to stay the unjust executions of two American women. For Lisa Montgomery, whose execution is set for January 12, 2021, this order comes at a time of desperate need. In Article 91/2020, the IACHR outlines the horrific and prolonged torture and trauma Ms. Montgomery suffered since the age of 11, which led to the development of multiple psycho-social disabilities. International standards … Continue reading Citing human rights concerns, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights calls on the United States to stay the executions of two women

The Role of Lawyers in Human Rights Advocacy Work

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When I began law school, I knew that I would like to one day work in advocacy or human rights work, preferably in the space of international law. While I was aware of organizations like The Advocates for Human Rights where these kinds of legal positions were available, I did not really understand the role … Continue reading The Role of Lawyers in Human Rights Advocacy Work

New Year, Renewed Hope

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In ancient Roman religion and myth, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and ending is known as Janus. Janus is typically depicted as having two faces, looking to the future and to the past.   Janus, or what Janus represents, is no doubt on the minds of many as we close out one year and begin another. As we reflect on the … Continue reading New Year, Renewed Hope

Asylum Seeker Encourages Pro Bono Attorneys, “We Can Do It.”

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Mrs. A and her husband with Professor Steve Meili and other members of the U of M legal team in November 2019 “We are not afraid anymore.” states Mrs. A, a client at The Advocates for Human Rights, who along with her husband and two children, recently received an asylum grant after four long years … Continue reading Asylum Seeker Encourages Pro Bono Attorneys, “We Can Do It.”

The Advocates for Human Rights Addresses Systemic Racism in US Policing Before Two UN Bodies

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The flag of the United Nations In 2013, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for Persons of African Descent, to be observed from 2015 to 2024. More than halfway through the Decade, little progress has been made toward addressing the systemic racism faced by people of African descent in the US and around the world. As … Continue reading The Advocates for Human Rights Addresses Systemic Racism in US Policing Before Two UN Bodies

Establishing the Death Penalty for Rape in Bangladesh Does Little to Protect Victims of Violence Against Women

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16 Days of Activism - November 25 through Human Rights Day, December 10 This October, a wave of protests and rallies spread across Bangladesh following several high-profile sexual assaults. In response, Bangladesh amended the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act to allow the death penalty for rape. This response from the government does not protect women victims of sexual assault, but rather deters them … Continue reading Establishing the Death Penalty for Rape in Bangladesh Does Little to Protect Victims of Violence Against Women

Celebrating Human Rights Day: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights

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Each year on December 10, people all around the world celebrate Human Rights Day.  The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption on 10 December 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global statement of international human rights principles. The UDHR was the first international document that spelled out the “basic civil, political, economic, social and … Continue reading Celebrating Human Rights Day: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights

Live from Geneva: The United States Takes Center Stage

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The Advocates' scorecard to track recommendations from the international community There may be a few reasons the world’s eyes are on the United States in recent days, but for three and a half hours on Monday, those eyes will be focusing not on election results, recounts, or infection rates, but on our country’s human rights … Continue reading Live from Geneva: The United States Takes Center Stage

Live from Geneva! The Pandemic Won’t Stop The Advocates’ Human Rights Advocacy: What You Need to Know about the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 36th Session

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A wide view during the 19th Session Human Rights Council. 15 March 2012. Photo by Jean-Marc FerrŽ The next two weeks are exciting times to be engaged in human rights advocacy, and you can be a part of it, helping to amplify the voices of The Advocates For Human Rights, our clients, and our partners around the world.  Three times a year, the … Continue reading Live from Geneva! The Pandemic Won’t Stop The Advocates’ Human Rights Advocacy: What You Need to Know about the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 36th Session

Celebrating United Nations Day 2020

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The Advocates' staff and volunteers at The United Nations in Geneva October 24, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter, the document that remains the foundation for the United Nations system. On this United Nations Day, The Advocates for Human Rights rededicates itself to leveraging the strength … Continue reading Celebrating United Nations Day 2020

Do Consular Notification Rights Matter? In Capital Cases, They Can Mean The Difference Between Life And Death.

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A young black man, born in Germany, moved with his family to the United States as a small child, settling in rural Alabama. Let’s call him T. Although T struggled in school from the very start, and in developing the necessary skills to manage his life on a day-to-day basis, he received virtually no help – no medical, psychological, or real educational interventions to identify or develop skills to cope with what would … Continue reading Do Consular Notification Rights Matter? In Capital Cases, They Can Mean The Difference Between Life And Death.

Indonesia, the Interahamwe and… ICE: Why Forced Sterilization in Immigration Detention is a Bellwether for Large-Scale Human Rights Abuses

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The United States conducts human rights programs and judges other countries’ record of human rights, is part of the world community which consistently condemns crimes against humanity, and has entered wars and supported international missions under the auspices of stopping and preventing such atrocities.  And yet, whistleblower allegations indicate that the United States Government is … Continue reading Indonesia, the Interahamwe and… ICE: Why Forced Sterilization in Immigration Detention is a Bellwether for Large-Scale Human Rights Abuses

Police Use of Force Laws: Minnesota Falls Short

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Today, a Minnesota court will hear several significant motions in the cases against Derek Chavin and the three other former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd. Among the matters Judge Peter Cahill will consider in the September 11 hearing are the state’s motion for a joint trial of all defendants and … Continue reading Police Use of Force Laws: Minnesota Falls Short

Criminal Charges Reflect, Reinforce Power Imbalance Between Law Enforcement and Communities

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The chest camera footage of former Minneapolis police officers Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane—two of the men involved in killing George Floyd—has been made available online. The opening minutes of video illuminate a casual brutality and violence by the police. Lane approaches the car from behind, banging on the window with his Maglite. He clearly … Continue reading Criminal Charges Reflect, Reinforce Power Imbalance Between Law Enforcement and Communities

Navigating a New Normal in Relationship Building

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Samantha Nelson, summer Development Intern at The Advocates For Human Rights and senior at University of Michigan, Class of 2021 Before joining The Advocates as an intern, I had only a vague idea how nonprofits operate and knew little about the meaning of and working in development. Eight weeks later, and I can confidently say that my knowledge … Continue reading Navigating a New Normal in Relationship Building

Poland’s Dangerous Withdrawal From The Istanbul Convention

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Introduction Poland has ratified the Istanbul Convention, yet announced plans to withdraw from the treaty. Related attacks on reproductive rights, the independence of the judiciary, sex education, and civil society have abounded. The Istanbul Convention The Istanbul Convention, or the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, was … Continue reading Poland’s Dangerous Withdrawal From The Istanbul Convention

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Armed and Unaccountable, Federal Forces Use Tactics Honed at the Border against Protestors

The deployment of anonymous armed federal agents, now identified as part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in Portland has yielded shocking reports of arbitrary arrests, detention without charge, and short-term disappearances, in addition to injuries to protesters resulting from use of sub-lethal force and chemical agents. Garnering less attention, but no less troubling, … Continue reading Armed and Unaccountable, Federal Forces Use Tactics Honed at the Border against Protestors

Why Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights Is Wrong

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently unveiled the draft report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights (Commission). During the event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia (“a place intentionally chosen”, even if it is currently closed to the public), Secretary Pompeo gave a speech entitled “Unalienable Rights and the Securing of Freedom”.    “And it’s important – it’s important for every American, for every American diplomat, … Continue reading Why Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights Is Wrong

Justice for George Floyd: UN Human Rights Council Shines Spotlight on Systemic Racism and Police Brutality

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The March session of the UN Human Rights Council was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Monday morning, that session resumed in Geneva with a dramatic opening. The President of the Human Rights Council gave the floor to Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to the Council and coordinator of the body’s African Group: Dieudonné W. Désiré … Continue reading Justice for George Floyd: UN Human Rights Council Shines Spotlight on Systemic Racism and Police Brutality

Sarah Musgrave: Honoring our 2020 Volunteer Award Winners

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Sarah Musgrave, Volunteer Award Recipient, honored at The Advocates' Human Rights Awards Dinner 2020 Sarah Musgrave is one of the five recipients of The Advocates for Human Rights Volunteer Awards. She is an active member in the Minneapolis community and committed to her volunteer work. Musgrave helps set the welcoming and supportive tone for The … Continue reading Sarah Musgrave: Honoring our 2020 Volunteer Award Winners

Amano Dube: Honoring Our 2020 Volunteer Award Recipients

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Amano Dube, The Advocates For Human Rights Volunteer Award Recipient Amano Dube, a leader in the Minneapolis community, is one of five recipients receiving The Advocates for Human Rights Volunteer Award. Dube is the Director of Public Sector Programs at Pillsbury United Communities’ Brian Coyle Center, a social service center that supports the local immigrant … Continue reading Amano Dube: Honoring Our 2020 Volunteer Award Recipients

Kathy Lenzmeier: Honoring the First Recipient of the Marlene Kayser Volunteer Award

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Kathy Lenzmeier, The Advocates' Marlene Kayser Volunteer Award Recipient Kathy Lenzmeier, a longtime volunteer and former board member of The Advocates for Human Rights, is the first recipient of the Marlene Kayser Volunteer Award. The award was created as a legacy to Marlene and honors individuals who represent the gold standard of excellence in volunteerism, … Continue reading Kathy Lenzmeier: Honoring the First Recipient of the Marlene Kayser Volunteer Award

Joan Kuriansky: Celebrating the Work of Our Volunteers

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Joan Kuriansky, The Advocates For Human Rights Volunteer Award Recipient The work done by The Advocates for Human Rights is fueled by its team of talented volunteers. One of these volunteers is Joan Kuriansky, a Washington D.C.­–based lawyer, with a strong commitment to women’s rights work, domestic violence issues, and human rights advocacy. Kuriansky began … Continue reading Joan Kuriansky: Celebrating the Work of Our Volunteers

This is No Ordinary Mother’s Day

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Sarah Brenes with her mother, a nurse, on "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" This is my first Mother’s Day without my mama. I am reminded of her every day, as I follow the news about healthcare professionals on the frontline of caring for the sick and neighbors making masks. My mom was a nurse and … Continue reading This is No Ordinary Mother’s Day

Remaining the North Star During A Pandemic

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The Advocates calls on the State of Minnesota to lead in supporting communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Federal Government has provided crucial assistance to some families, but that legislation excludes many members of our communities.  For example, the Federal CARES Act restricts stimulus funds from many mixed-status families; unemployment benefits are not available for … Continue reading Remaining the North Star During A Pandemic

Remote Volunteers Help NGOs Engage with the United Nations

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Civil society organizations play a crucial role in human rights monitoring at the United Nations. The mission of the United Nations – to monitor, protect, and advance human rights around the world – is best carried out when civil society actively participates. Non-governmental organizations, activists, and academics provide valuable information about human rights violations that … Continue reading Remote Volunteers Help NGOs Engage with the United Nations

A Volunteer Reflects

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Sydney Goggins, University of Minnesota Law Student and WATCH volunteer Going into a courtroom for the first time compared to re-entering a courtroom after a semester of law school are wildly different experiences. My first time in the courtroom was with WATCH, a court monitoring and judicial policy initiative of The Advocates For Human Rights, … Continue reading A Volunteer Reflects

Supreme Court’s Ramos Decision Brings Attention to the Relevance of International Human Rights Standards in Death Penalty Cases

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U.S. Supreme Court (image courtesy Wikimedia Commons) The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down provisions in Oregon and Louisiana law that allow a jury to convict someone of a crime without reaching a unanimous verdict. Ramos v. Louisiana brings attention to the importance of aligning death penalty practices in the United States with international human rights standards. The … Continue reading Supreme Court’s Ramos Decision Brings Attention to the Relevance of International Human Rights Standards in Death Penalty Cases

Volunteers Fight The Fight; Families Reunite

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A client of The Advocates For Human Rights reunited with her children after 7 years. During this time of coronavirus, we are bombarded with news of things going wrong, with too many stories of loved ones passing away alone, retirement savings lost, and doctors feeling overwhelmed without the resources they need. As immigration lawyers, we … Continue reading Volunteers Fight The Fight; Families Reunite

Asylum Seekers Continue to Push for Change Abroad

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Protesters carry a Burundian flag in Brujumbura, Burundi. Photo: Reuters/G. Tomasevic As a newly-initiated intern in The Advocates for Human Rights’ International Justice Program, I was unsure what to expect when I walked into my first official team meeting in May 2019. Despite this uncertainty, I quickly learned that me and my intern team’s responsibilities … Continue reading Asylum Seekers Continue to Push for Change Abroad

A Global Look at COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

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The Advocates is taking action to respond to increased domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our social media about the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence in countries around the world.  Across the world, agencies are seeing an uptick in domestic violence cases as stay-at-home and limited movement orders have been put in place … Continue reading A Global Look at COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

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The Advocates Opposes Proposed Fee Increases by Immigration Court, Appeals Board

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted comments opposing proposed fee increases by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The agency plans to increase fees across the board. The cost of an appeal would rise by a staggering 786%, making appeals of immigration court decisions the most expensive appeals in the federal system.  March 30, 2020 … Continue reading The Advocates Opposes Proposed Fee Increases by Immigration Court, Appeals Board

Following Harvey Weinstein’s Sentencing, the message to the Rest of the World’s Prosecutors: “Just Try It!”

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Women’s human rights defenders are celebrating an overdue breakthrough in prosecuting sexual assault and harassment. Former film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced in New York to 23 years in prison on Wednesday, March 11 for his two sexual assault convictions.  He faces additional charges in Los Angeles.  Many who work against sexual violence see a … Continue reading Following Harvey Weinstein’s Sentencing, the message to the Rest of the World’s Prosecutors: “Just Try It!”

20 Ways to Support The Advocates for Human Rights in 2020

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  At The Advocates for Human Rights, we envision a world where every person lives with dignity, freedom, justice, equality, and peace. We rely on volunteers to move us closer to this ideal. Volunteers are an essential part of our mission. They create a bigger impact beyond the capacity of our limited staff resources. For … Continue reading 20 Ways to Support The Advocates for Human Rights in 2020

Celebrating victories in an imperfect system

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I will admit that when I realized that I had scheduled myself for court observation the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, I had not considered all the last-minute errands that would be put on my list, as the sole able-bodied member of my household.  So when I woke up to heavy snowfalls and school cancellations that … Continue reading Celebrating victories in an imperfect system

20 Ways to Support Human Rights in 2020

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At The Advocates for Human Rights, we envision a world where every person lives with dignity, freedom, justice, equality, and peace. As this year comes to a close, we know that there is still much to be done to reach that ideal. In 2019, we saw setbacks in asylum policy that put the lives of … Continue reading 20 Ways to Support Human Rights in 2020

Understanding the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act

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The passage of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act ends nearly 30 years of "temporary" status for thousands of Liberians. Signed into law on December 20, 2019, LRIFA provides a singular ray of hope in an otherwise bleak immigration landscape. LRIFA means that many Liberians who have lived in limbo may now move forward toward permanent … Continue reading Understanding the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act

Bringing the worldwide movement to end the arbitrary death penalty to the U.S. Supreme Court

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On Wednesday, December 11, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral argument in a death penalty case called McKinney v. Arizona.  With pro bono assistance from Dechert LLP, The Advocates for Human Rights and the World Coalition submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the petitioner, James McKinney, who was sentenced to death in Arizona for his involvement in two 1991 murders. McKinney was 23 years old at the time of the crimes.

New Help for Volunteer Attorneys Representing Domestic Violence Survivors

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Imagine you suffered years of near daily physical, sexual, and psychological abuse from your husband in silence, knowing that every time you tried to escape, he found you and beat you worse for attempting to leave him. Imagine he told you that you were his property and your role as his wife was to serve … Continue reading New Help for Volunteer Attorneys Representing Domestic Violence Survivors

Risking it all for Human Rights

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Remarks from volunteer Gretchen Piper Collectively, we risked nothing in attending tonight’s event—in coming together to advocate for others. People around the world risk everything. In July, Julianne and I attended a conference in Zagreb, the capital and largest city in Croatia. The conference was called by The Advocates for Human Rights. We were part … Continue reading Risking it all for Human Rights

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Remembering the Origins of WATCH

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as well as the month in which Sheila Wellstone and her husband Sen. Paul Wellstone died in the crash of a small airplane in 2002. For those who knew her, the two are forever linked, because Sheila was a leader in bringing awareness to the crushing impact of domestic … Continue reading Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Remembering the Origins of WATCH